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FRIDAY IN L.A: Hugo The Hippo vs. UCLA Archive?

Decisions, Decisions! Tonight in L.A. (4/14) you have your choice:

1. From Inkwell to Desktop: A Selection of Early Hand Drawn and Digital Animation at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theatre in Westwood. The program begins at 7:30pm. I will be appearing with Bill Kroyer on a panel discussing how animation techniques have changed since the earliest days of cinema. For ticket information click here.


2. Hugo The Hippo at the CineFamily/Silent Movie Theatre. At 8pm, this rarely screened 1975 animated feature from Hungry’s the Hungarian Pannonia Studio (shown in 35mm), is the first in a weekly sereies of Fun and Funky Kids Films, curated by Lance Robertson and Kevin Lee (of Yo Gabba Gabba). A program of rarely shown stop-motion animated shorts from the Czech Republic, France, and Russia begins the program, and then Hugo, a psychedelic kiddie film, featuring the voice talents of Burl Ives, Paul Lynde and several funky tunes sung by Marie and Jimmy Osmond. For more info click here.

  • Looney Lover

    hey Jerry you forgot one.

    Saturday, May 8 – 3:00 PM at the Aero in Sana Monica

    1328 Montana Avenue at 14th Street in Santa Monica

    Family Matinee! Co-presented with Every Picture Tells A Story: Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons: Join us for an afternoon of Popeye and Betty Boop shorts. Program includes Fleisher’s “Koko’s Earth Control,” “Admission Free,” “Boop Oop a Doop,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “Any Rags,” “Poor Cinderella,” “Snow-White,” “Down Among the Sugar Cane,” “Grampy’s Indoor Outing” and “Dancing on the Moon.” Everyone’s favorite spinach-eating sailor, Popeye, will include “Bride and Gloom”, “Popeye’s Mirthday” and many others.

  • I just saw Hugo a couple of weeks ago, on VHS! It starts out horrifying, in a cartoony way. Later it’s tragic, in a trippy way. Then the second half takes a weird turn, when it becomes sweet, in a forgettable way.

    It feels like a big mix of Yellow Submarine and Filmation-type-stuff, so it’s an emotional roller coaster. Like so many forgotten features, it has some terrible animation, where you’re like, “Oh my God! Did they give that scene to a monkey?!” But sprinkled throughout are also a certain number of really well done shots that make you think, “If only they had put THAT animator in charge.”

    The Osmond songs are pretty bad, but there’s this one really cool rock song, called Zing Zong. Hooray for Hungary!

  • Looney Lover – I didn’t quite forget Betty Boop screening, since this post is about events happening tonight.

    As for Saturday events in L.A., you forgot to include the Harvey Comics/Fleischer Studios event at the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks at 7pm:

  • looney lover

    You are correct. The Harvey comics at van eaton is sure to be amazing. This weekend is like comic con for animation nerds :) thank you for keeping us all informed.

  • Corey K.

    A friend of mine always talked about Hugo the Hippo, which she saw as a child… and won a copy of the soundtrack at the screening, thus cementing her memories. Even after she lost the soundtrack, the H-I-P-P-O… song stuck with her… but she was never able to convince her friends that this weird film existed. Last year, I found a Hugo fan page and was able to order a DVD of the film directly from its director, Bill Feigenbaum, as a Christmas present for her. The film is utterly, completely bonkers! Every single time you think you’ve gotten the baseline of how odd the film is, it takes another lurch deeper into out-of-left-field weirdness. By the time of the climactic fight in the garden, your jaw will be on the floor in sheer giggly, giddy disbelief. Seriously, nobody spoil the surreal wonders of this film for anybody who hasn’t seen it; this is one that’s best to go into cold!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I was proud to win a 16mm print of Hugo off eBay a few years back, not in great condition, but it was better than nothing (let alone the original VHS release that fetches up a high price these days).

  • Gareth

    I love Hugo the Hippo! My mother taped it for my brother and me to watch when we were young, and it was a regular in our VHS player since then. Watching it now, I’m amazed I wasn’t adversely affected by it, as it really is completely weird. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s a beautiful piece of kitsch animation that will always propped up by nostalgia for me.
    PS – if anyone is interested, the original Hungarian version is floating around on Youtube under the title “Hugó, a víziló”. But I definitely prefer the English version, if only because Paul Lynde’s performance is worth the price of admission alone.

  • I managed to find a bootleg of this movie on Vhs after much hard searching. I actually saw Hugo in a theater as a kid and for the longest time I could not remember if it was real or I had dreamed it was real.

    I rank its weirdness right up there with Raggedy Anne and Andy’s musical adventure, the mouse and his child and Felix the cat the movie.
    Pretty damn weird.

  • I remember Hugo The Hippo as been pretty dire. Did it improve with time?

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Aaahhh,Hugo The Hippo. I have always thought of it as Walt Disney
    meets Hieronymus Bosch. It’s a nice & trippy movie.

    If they need any suggestions for Fun & Funky Kids Films,why not screen Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon,Mr.Wonderbird,and The Adventures of Horus:Prince of The Sun?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Hugo the Hippo has it’s moments. Some moments kept reminding me of earlier seasons of The Simpsons with the way we get those visual jokes thrown in, such as a guy watching the mob taking Hugo to court on TV when it’s happening right outside his house. The music of course can be cringe-worthy to some, you get Marie and Jimmy Osmond doing their tunes, Burl Ives singing a couple as well as narration, but the visuals are quite exquisite for what they were (no doubt inspired by that Peter Max-ish approach people like to dismiss these days). Not bad for a production funded by a subsidiary of Faberge.

  • ?

    “Hungry’s Pannonia Studios”
    Hungarian Pannonia Studio or Pannonia Studio from Hungary